Nationals Trade Star Slugger Juan Soto to Padres

Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto in 2019
Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto in 2019. Photo by Austin Mcafee/CSM/Shutterstock (10412728l)

The Washington Nationals decided it is best to trade their star slugger Juan Soto sooner than later. The Nationals pulled the trigger on Tuesday, shipping Soto to the San Diego Padres for a massive haul of prospects.

According to the official announcement, Washington sent Soto and first baseman Josh Bell to the Padres while receiving the following top prospects: shortstop C.J. Abrams, lefty MacKenzie Gore, righty Jarlin Susana, and outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wood. The deal also saw the Nationals getting 2020’s MLB homer run leader Luke Voit.

The Padres previously attempted to include first baseman Eric Hosmer in the deal as well, but the veteran refused to waive his no-trade clause for Washington. Instead, he is heading to the Boston Red Sox as part of a separate trade.

Acquiring Juan Soto significantly moves the needle for the Padres, who were immediately pushed into the World Series contenders tier with this deal. It is believed that pairing Soto with stars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado will make Padres a formidable force in National League and finally give San Diego enough firepower to jump over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On the other hand, the Washington Nationals surely feel gutted for giving away their best player. However, with Soto recently rejecting a contract extension, the Nationals couldn’t afford to wait. The 23-year-old player’s value could only get lower as he approached the end of his deal, so it was crucial for the franchise to act as quickly as it did.

It isn’t all bad for the franchise, as the prospect arriving in Washington will replenish the team’s weak farm system. The Nationals can now be a bit more optimistic about their rebuild, although the sting from letting Soto leave will probably last a long time or at least until one of the arrivals proves to be a superstar in the making.